Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Dogs Deserve Better has been working on something special. The organization, which works to free dogs from a life of being chained or tethered outdoors, requested students and groups to get involved by making Valentine’s cards for them. These letters of love were to be sent to the organization, which will deliver them to the dogs that are known to lead these miserable lives. While educating children on the value of life and the needs of our fellow creatures, this will also serve to educate those owners who don’t realize the deleterious effects their choice of chaining a dog can cause.
Dogs Deserve Better was established in August of 2002, by Tamira Ci Thayne. It all began innocently enough; horrified by the life her neighbor’s dog led by living chained outside and without a “pack”, she was moved to action. The choice of name her neighbor made for the dog tells all – “Worthless”. With no respect, no concern, only an abusive and neglectful attitude toward his dog, this man was condemning his dog to a life without human interaction and bonding, without proper shelter and encouraging the poor thing to go stir-crazy from living at the end of a chain.
The group has expanded across the nation, with the simple message that it’s not okay (in spite of what people might have done in the past) to leave a dog living outdoors, chained and exposed. Simply by constantly being attached and restricted by that chain, a dog can develop fear aggression, in addition to the increased likelihood that people will forget to provide fresh food and water and shelter from both the elements and frightening predators. The dog feels trapped; and without life with a family, dogs just don’t do well.
Ms. Thayne herself has rescued many a dog from such situations. She has even been arrested and charged for kidnapping/stealing a dog that was neglected and chained. She will stop at nothing to do whatever she can for the sake of these helpless animals. The website offers tips on what to do if you come across a dog living on a chain. Also, you can alert the organization with the address of this dog. Let’s face it; dogs are not inanimate objects, to be placed outside our homes as security systems. They are living, breathing creatures with needs. And as the organization believes, it is the responsibility of all of us to ensure they are cared for properly.
Dogs Deserve Better hopes to purchase Michael Vick’s former property, which was sold to an investor and sits vacant. Seeking donations for the purchase, the organization believes it would be a wonderful way to not only use a great property for the benefit of dogs that formerly were neglected and abused, but also as a memorial to all the dogs that once suffered there. It would no longer be the Bad Newz Kennels, but the Good Newz Rehab Center.
This week, groups are gathering to stuff envelopes with the Valentine’s cards and coupons for food and treats. The organization has a list of at least 17,000 dogs that are known to spend day in and day out chained, tethered, or penned outdoors. The goal of their Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week is to spread awareness, both throughout communities, and with individual dog owners, about the senseless and outdated practice of keeping dogs outside without proper shelter or human interaction. Ultimately, there is also the hope of sparing the life of those dogs who would otherwise die this winter, either from starvation or from the cold.